I am late submitting this blog post. And the last few hectic weeks in the office have made it hard for me to concentrate on my experiment. When there are jobs to be done, and projects to be delivered, it’s hard to justify – to myself, I mean – the time spent on something which is ‘extra-curricular’.
Yet carving out that time is vital, not just to this process, but to any kind of creative work. I always have my best ideas sitting on trains with dodgy internet connections (the section of track between Newcastle and York particularly good/bad for this), where there is little else to do but think. An hour or so away from the tyranny of email. This academy might be about digital, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a day/afternoon/hour a week with the wifi turned off, just to allow those fleeting ideas space to become something solid?
You can’t really avoid periods of delivery like the one I am in. But it’s clear that if you don’t make time to think creatively, then you’ll probably miss out on some of the better ideas you might have had, which would have improved your work.
This week I had a meeting with the cast and crew of our theatre production, which is forming the basis of my experiment. Together we are going to create Facebook content based around the production – videos and images inspired by the production and the artistic process around it. The cast and crew are right at the beginning of their own development process and were spending two days in a studio talking about ideas, trying things out, changing their minds, discovering new ways into the piece of theatre that none of them would have thought of on their own. I went and spent an hour with them – what joy! – there was such energy and focus in the room; such a lot of ideas, which didn’t need to be perfect, but were worth playing around with.
I appreciate that in its own way, the DMA is making me carve out time to think of and work on ideas which may or may not work; to share ideas with others; and to embrace creativity as an experimental process. It’s so important that we make this time for ourselves.